Q

Can't get into Linux unless I change the boot sequence

I partitioned my hard drive and installed Windows 2000 on a 28 GB partition and install Red Hat Linux version 7.1 on a 9 GB partition. Whenever I need to get into Linux, I have to go into the BIOS settings and change the boot sequence to the floppy drive. Only then am I able to enter Linux. Can you let me know how I can get the option to go into Linux while booting my machine rather than going into the BIOS settings to change the boot sequence to enter Linux or Win2000? I have a Dell PC with P3 1.3 GHz processor, 256 MB RAM, 40 GB hard drive.

I am not sure if I installed Linux properly. Can you please point me to a good comprehensive installation guide? I used most of the default settings when I installed Linux. I am not able to configure my dial-up connection through Linux. Thank you very much for your help.

The issue here, I believe, is that you need to install a boot loader on your Master boot record. Basically what happens is that you need a traffic cop of sorts to tell the PC to load one system over another.

You have a couple of options here. If you can, you should download an updated version of Red Hat. 7.1 is rather old. You probably have a bunch of software that could stand to be updated for sake of enhanced features and security. You can download the Red Hat Supported version called Fedora Core. This should not wipe out your Red Hat installation, but instead just update it. I recently updated from Red Hat 9 to Fedora Core 3 myself and had good results.

If you still have your system install CDs, you can use the handy Red Hat install guide to get yourself fixed. The guide is for version 9.0, but the installation procedure from 7 to 9 was pretty similar.

I would bet that if you go through the install and know what to look for this time with regards to a boot loader option, you could get things working.

I also would suggest searching the Linux Documentation Project. They have a good deal of information on almost any Linux subject, although some of it tends to be dated.

To see if you even have LILO or Grub installed, go to your /etc/ directory in Linux and see if you have an /etc/grub.conf or an /etc/LILO.conf. If you have one but not the other, you are closer to tracking down your solution.

Here's a discussion from someone who shares your problem. I think you might find the dialogue here useful.

I mentioned in my blog earlier this week how much I liked Knoppix because it's so versatile. One of the things you can do is install LILO or GRUB from within Knoppix.

You can download Knoppix and then follow the instructions on the Interactive Forum to solve your problem.

This was first published in December 2004

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